Catherine Creedon: Person of the Year

Library Director Catherine CreedonJJML is proud that Library Director Catherine Creedon has been selected by The Sag Harbor Express as its “Person of the Year” for 2009. The selection was mad by The Expresss’ editorial board.

While Catherine’s been our person of the “year” since she started working here back in 2007, it is a nice confirmation of our respect for, belief in and fondness of Catherine to have her recognized as such by an external, unbiased entity.

Here are some of the things the paper reported in its the front-page article about Catherine  that contributed to making her their choice:

[Former Board President Christiane] Neuville [said,] “She is an unusual person because when you first see and meet her you do not grasp all that she can accomplish. When I see what she is able to do, especially now, with everything that has been going on, she is a true leader.”

Neuville added she believes Creedon was instrumental in the successful passage of a $10 million referendum this summer.

Neuville said it was not only Creedon’s dedication to the project, but how she presents ideas and listens to people that was her greatest asset leading up to the referendum. “She has a very non-threatening way about her – people listen to her,” said Neuville. “She never raises her voice, but speaks with real strength.”

Diane Gaites, the most recent [Board] president who stepped down from the trustees this year after 15 years on the board..said…it was Creedon who made the board see they all had the same goals for the library despite their differing views on how it should be carried out.

“I think she had a great way of making sure we did things together, through consensus,” said Gaites. “Eventually, she made us realize we had the same interests at heart. We became more cohesive.”

I think — which she doesn’t appreciate about herself — that Cathy has a natural gift to connect groups of people,” said [JJML’s Technology Coordinator Eric] Cohen. “You always know she is speaking from the heart.”Cohen added that Creedon “worked her butt off” to get the referendum passed, going to groups more than once and keeping her office door open for anyone who had questions about the expansion plan – a trait she continues post referendum as the library gears up for the village’s review of their project.

“She never patronizes people and always takes concerns to heart,” said Cohen. “I think people saw that we were taking a responsible approach to the project and really listening to what they had to say. The full board deserves a lot of credit for this as well.”

Gaites noted Creedon has accomplished far more than a successful referendum, implementing a slew of new programs and rearranging the current space at JJML to make it more efficient.

“She looked at the space differently,” said Gaits. “She has been able to physically fit more in and in a very innovative way.”

“Her vision is larger than just books,” said Gail Slevin, a member of the Friends of the John Jermain Memorial Library. “With extraordinary limitations – a leaking roof, no heat, she made physical changes like moving the reference department downstairs from the third floor where it was so inaccessible. She carved out places here and there, she cleaned. The overall effect has been wonderful.”

Circulation at JJML, in Creedon’s tenure, is up almost 20 percent.

“For a long time before Cathy, we kind of felt like the library was not going anywhere, not serving the needs of the community as well as we thought it could,” said Cohen. “She brought an ethic of wanting to serve the community to the fullest.”

The Trustees and staff of the John Jermain Memorial Library are thrilled that Catherine has been awarded this honor.

You can read the full article online at The Sag Harbor Express’ website.

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